Former Formula One champion Mika Hakkinen said he doesn’t expect to see Mercedes challenge for honours during the 2013 F1 season.

The former McLaren Mercedes driver made the statement following the opening pre-season test at Jerez, Spain. Mercedes had a tough start to the test, with both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton hitting trouble on their first days at the wheel of the new F1 W04, prompting Hakkinen to say he wasn’t impressed with the performance of the team and that McLaren was the team to watch.

“With the first test you never really get a 100 per cent picture of exactly where the performance of the car is. I believe at the next test in Barcelona, that is going to be more interesting to see who is at the top of the list. However I have a strong feeling McLaren are on top form this year. Mercedes were not exactly up to the speed I expected them to be, so I don’t see them competing too much this year,” Hakkinen told BBC Radio 5 Live.

The F1 double world champion said Hamilton’s decision to leave McLaren was correct, however, arguing that it was time for the Briton to take on a fresh challenge.



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